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Department of

Pharmacology & Systems Physiology 

Educational Programs in the Department of Pharmacology & Systems Physiology 

The educational mission of the department can be divided into four major categories encompassing undergraduate and graduate programs in which students can earn PhD, MS, or BS degrees.

PhD Programs

The PSP department is home to two PhD programs: the Systems Biology and Physiology (SBP) Program, and the Molecular, Cellular and Biochemical Pharmacology Program (MCBP). Each program is designed to provide training for the next generation of scientists, innovators, and leaders in their respective fields. Students in each program are a diverse group of international scholars focusing their research efforts on a wide array of biomedical topics from trying to understand normal and pathological function to development of new therapeutics, experimental tools and technologies. Students engage in a contemporary curriculum including thesis research training in faculty mentored research programs.


Master of Science (MS) Degrees

The PSP department maintains two stand-alone master’s programs:

The Special Master’s Program in Physiology is an enrichment program designed for students seeking to bolster their credentials to medical school. Each year, the program accepts 32 students who participate in a rigorous curriculum designed to demonstrate their preparedness for medical school. About half the curriculum takes the form of immersion in medical-school courses: students take four blocks of the first-year medical school curriculum in a side-by-side fashion with first-year medical students. Students' grades in these courses are therefore closely benchmarked to medical-student performance. The program boasts a greater than 90% success rate in getting its graduates accepted to medical school.

The Masters Program in Molecular, Cellular and Biochemical Pharmacology – Safety Pharmacology (the MSSP) trains students as successful career professionals for research and laboratory management roles in the field of pharmacology, particularly pre-clinical drug discovery and development, or in fields in which pharmacology knowledge and skills are of significant value. The program also prepares students for advanced academic (e.g., PhD) or professional (e.g., MD, DVM) training in the life sciences.


Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree

The recently developed Medical Sciences Baccalaureate Program is an innovative undergraduate program that is at the vanguard of preprofessional education in the medical sciences. The program, administered through the College of Medicine, offers both a major and a minor. Spring 2019, the major capped its fourth year in existence by graduating its first full cohort of students completing all four years of the program. (Five students who had transferred into the program graduated spring 2018.) At present, the major admits around 100 students per year.

The curriculum consists of core requirements and higher-level classes in the biomedical sciences. Setting it apart from many other similar programs, the Medical Sciences Baccalaureate Program offers extensive experiential learning opportunities including research, service learning, clinical shadowing, volunteering and leadership. For their senior-year capstone experience, students choose either a two-semester research project or service-learning project. Many of the PSP faculty make substantial contributions to teaching and leadership in the Medical Sciences Baccalaureate Program.